Author Name: Lynn Lorenz
Book Names: The Mercenary’s Tale, Jackson’s Pride, Baymore’s Heir, His Duke’s Gift
Series: In The Company of Men
Books: One through Five
Release Date: September 2015 – December 2015
The Mercenary’s Tale – Drake is a mercenary for hire. He values little other than his sword and his skill. Fighting his attraction to the young men he trains, he refuses to take any on. When Ansel walks into his life, Drake breaks all his rules.
But life for mercenaries is hard, brutal and deadly.
Can Drake take a chance on finding the love he’s denied himself for so long?
Can he have a second chance?
Jackson’s Pride – Jackson has been called to attend his father, Lord Baymore. The man has never claimed Jackson as his son and Jackson believes this might be his father’s intent. He’s left the Duke of Marden’s employ to discover his destiny—to remain a nameless bastard or to claim his father’s name.
When Jackson stumbles across a man, stripped, beaten, and left in a field to die a slow death, Jackson rescues the man. After all, he’s guilty of the same thing—wanting a man.
Will Holcombe gambled and lost. His meeting with a young, willing man went horribly wrong, and now he must pay for it with his life.
Until a man walks up to him in a frozen field and cuts him down.
Jackson is like no one Will has ever met before—a man strong enough to stand with him, perhaps forever.
But Jackson’s on a mission. Will his pride blind him to what his life could be if he chose Will and not his father?
Or will his pride lead him to a fate worse than death?
Baymore’s Heir – Duke Jackson of Baymore finally has all he’s ever wanted—his name, a title, and the man he loves by his side. Lord Will Holcombe couldn’t be happier. He’s Jackson’s lover, best friend, and manages all of Jackson’s affairs. For two years, their life together, although deadly if anyone knew of their forbidden love, has been perfect.
Until Jackson the day when decides the one thing he needs is an heir.
And the one person to find him a wife is Will.
His Duke’s Gift – In this Yuletide story, Duke Logan is preparing the keep for the holiday. Twelve nights of feasting and gift giving to those in his favor. Gifts must be made or bought. Once mercenary Drake struggles to think of just the right gift for his love and liege, and for their sons.
Something isn’t right. A stranger has arrived at the keep and Logan refuses to let Drake into his bedroom at night. Angry and frustrated, Drake fears Logan has lost his love for the mercenary.
When the Twelfth night arrives, and Drake has received no gift, he begins to think he might need to take his son and leave what has become his home.
Silent Lodge – Drake and Logan are worried about their friend and captain of the guard, Peter. After the death in childbirth of Peter’s wife, he’s a changed man. Unfocused, lonely, and devastated, Peter needs a new challenge, instead of going through the motions of living.
Logan sends Peter on a mission – to discover Duke Weathersby’s plans for invasion. Logan’s father has a small hunting lodge near the border of their lands, and it has a caretaker. Peter sets off alone, to make camp at the lodge and do some scouting.
But what he finds at the lodge just may be his future. Arvel is a fascinating young man. Red haired, deaf and mute from a fever as a child, he’s been living in the lodge and caring for it for years. It’s a safe haven for him. But he’s not alone. He has a protector, Gareth.
When Gareth, Arvel and Peter are together, sparks fly. Arvel belongs to Gareth, but he wants Peter too. Can Peter join their small family? And if he does, will he always be the third to their couple?
Pages or Words: Varies by book
Categories: Historical, M/M Romance
Ansel lowered himself with effort to the ground and leaned back on his saddle. From across the fire I could tell he still ached. I rummaged in my saddlebag and found the vial of oil I used to keep my leathers supple. It would work for Ansel’s back.
“That’s enough moaning from you. Take off your shirt and stretch out; I’m giving you a rubdown before you become so stiff you can’t move.” It came out more like an order, and Ansel obeyed.
He unlaced his leather vest, removed it, and then with careful motions, pulled his shirt over his head. Smooth chest met my gaze, lean muscles and wide shoulders. Dark hair trailed down his stomach to disappear beneath the strings of his breeches.
“Lay on your belly.” It was not the wisest thing I’d ever done, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. In truth, I wanted to touch him.
He stretched out on his cloak, his smooth broad back to me, arms over his head. There were no scars on his back or on his chest. Hidden scars, indeed.
He turned his head and looked up at me as I stood over him, his eye reflecting the firelight. I kneeled and straddled his hips. As I settled my weight on him, he gave a small grunt.
“Not too heavy for you?” I poured some of the oil from the vial and worked it over my hands.
“No.” He watched as I spread the oil between my fingers.
At the first touch of my hands on his skin, he shuddered. I smiled as his eye caught mine, then he closed it, giving me a ghost of a smile.
My hands roved over his back, lightly at first, then I increased the pressure as I pressed into his muscles, working them like a woman kneads bread dough. His smooth skin glistened in the firelight as my oiled hands glided across. Despite my best intentions, I grew hard as I touched him. Damn me, but I’d longed to do this. For his part, his breathing deepened and I could feel his chest expanding with each inhale. Was he as hard as I was? If so, it must have been uncomfortable to have his cock pressed into the hard ground.
I slid back, moving lower to sit at the tops of his thighs, his round buttocks firm in front of me. I rocked forward and back as I rubbed, pressing my hardness against him, watching for his reaction.
Part of me wanted to go further and part of me wanted him to tell me to stop. He never made a sound or moved.
“Roll over.” I stood, still straddling him.
Ansel pushed himself over, and I gazed down at the bulge in his breeches, long and hard. My eyes traveled to his face. No sign of shame, just that calm, steady gaze of his telling me to continue. He lay there, propped on his elbows, and looked up at my own hard bulge, then he slid flat to the ground.
I went down on my knees and sat across his hips, trapping his rod beneath me, a hard lump against my stones. Pouring more oil into my hands, I began to rub his shoulders, working my way to the sharp planes of his chest. His eyes were shut, and his mouth held that vague smile. I ran my thumbs across his small, dark nipples, resisting urges I didn’t want to give in to.
He hissed in a deep breath and held it as my thumbs played with those sharp points. Circling them first one way, then another, I showed him no mercy. For myself, I could feel my own nipples harden and ache under my shirt. At last, I stopped my torture, and he sighed, letting his breath out in a slow exhale. Damn, I wanted to take one of those sharp points in my mouth and make him moan for me.
Moving lower, I worked my hands over his taut stomach muscles and the tender, purple bruises I’d given him. He winced only once.
I rocked forward on his rod and he moaned. By all the gods, it sounded so good to my ears that I did it again. And again. My sac tightened as my rod swelled.
I lowered my body closer, rocked my hardness against his, and felt his responding push back. Supporting my body with my hands on his chest, all pretense of rubbing sore muscles was gone. I set a steady rhythm and pressed harder.
Ansel’s hands reached up and took my hips, pulling them tighter, his hips answering. He eyes were very dark, wide open, and locked with mine. Sliding over his chest, my hands ran down his arms, locked fingers with his, and pulled them from my hips and over his head. I stretched my clothed body against his bare chest and pumped.
His breath came ragged and his moans louder. My face was mere inches from his. This was it. If I lowered my mouth to his, I’d be kissing a man. Then I thought, we were two layers of cloth from fucking, what was a kiss? Merely damnation.
As if he’d read my mind, his lips parted and he closed his eyes. Unable to resist, I covered his mouth with mine and slammed my rod against him. I thrust faster now, even as my tongue entered his mouth to dance with his tongue, exchanging our tastes. He was as sweet tasting as any woman I’d kissed.
When he groaned into my mouth, I could feel it in my chest. I rocked faster and pressed harder. His legs widened, to give me more room, and I pumped harder. Sucking his tongue into my mouth, I held it captive. A groan ripped his lips from mine as he arched his back, his entire body tensed, and his hands clenched mine. I felt the jerking of his cock beneath me as he spilled and almost joined him.
With a shudder, he opened his eyes and looked into mine.
“Damn.” I smiled.
“Damn.” He smiled and licked his lips. I watched his tongue make a pass over the top and then the bottom, and then disappear inside. I wanted to take it in my mouth again.
Instead, freeing his hands, I rolled off him and sat against my saddle.
He propped himself up on one elbow, dipped his fingers beneath his breeches and pulled them out. They shone in the light, his cream covering them. Gods, I wondered what it would taste like.
“I should clean up.” He stood, went to his bag, rummaged in it, and came up with a bit of cloth. Wiping himself, he dropped the rag on the ground and came back to the fire.
I watched him as he stood in front of me.
“You’re still needing.” He kneeled, locked eyes with me, and pushed my knees apart. My rod strained against my breeches, so any denial would be seen for the lie it was.
When he reached for my strings, I should have said something, such as “Stop” or “Don’t touch me,” but we’d gone too far for false words.
His fingers made short work of the strings and he sat back. Without my shifting, my rod would remain firmly in place. There could be no more pretenses; if I wanted him, I had to move. I took a breath, shifted, pushed my breeches open, pulled the string of my trews, and freed my cock.
It stood tall, thick and long, dark with blood, as I took it in my already slick hand and greeted it like an old friend, with a slow, long stroke. Ansel’s gaze never left my hand as he moved closer.
“Let me.” He reached for my rod, and our fingers touched as he covered my hand with his. Together we glided over my quivering shaft, his fingers picking up traces of oil. Prickles of pleasure danced through my body, settling in my sac.
I slipped my hand from under his, sat back, and watched as his hand pleasured me. I’d held back before he’d released, but now it would be much harder with his hand wrapped around the bared shaft of my cock.
And what pleasure he gave me, like none I’d had before. He knew just how I needed to be touched, just how to stroke long, then fast and short, then long and squeeze the tip. I had to grit my teeth to keep from moaning as each stroke brought me closer to the cliffs of release. I wanted more. I wanted to possess him, own him, and make him mine in every way.
“Lick me.” My voice was quiet, deep, commanding.
Without a word, he lowered his head. I watched as his tongue made a long, slow pass over the blood-swollen tip, pulling a moan from me. He licked under the rim of my rod’s head and I moaned again.
Who possessed whom?
Exclusive Excerpt (from Jackson’s Pride):
Jackson must make a decision, to stay with his newfound love or to go to his father’s keep and find out why the old man has called him. All Jackson has ever wanted was to be recognized by his father, until he meets Lord William Holcomb. But danger waits for Jackson in the form of his half-brother Hugo Baymore, Will’s former lover, a man who nearly destroyed Will. Without a title, Jackson offers nothing to Will, but all Will wants is Jackson.
“Jackson, have you never been taken?” Will’s soft voice asked.
Jackson’s silence told him much. If Jackson hadn’t allowed anyone to enter him, then perhaps he’d never truly embraced this sweet dilemma they shared. Will understood the reasoning—he’d used it himself when he was younger and had not yet awakened to the truth of his carnal desires. As long as that barrier hadn’t been breached, that final step across the bridge hadn’t been taken, then Jackson was not damned. Once done, there was no going back and he’d have to admit what he was.
Or was it a matter of dominance? Jackson was a large, powerful man, used to being in command. Perhaps Jackson believed that to give himself up to be fucked in this manner was to give up his control, his dominance, his masculinity. Didn’t he realize he could be all of those things and more just by letting someone else take the lead?
On the outside, Jackson seemed so plain and simple. He was a mercenary, a skilled and deadly fighter, a coarse, rough man. But Will knew Jackson on the inside—warm, gentle, loving, and giving—and now Will could see the indecision, the fear. How long had Jackson warred against his own nature, against his desires? No wonder he’d had so few lovers.
Will got out of bed and went to Jackson, wrapped his arms around the big man, and laid his head on his back. “When you are ready, let me know. Until then, I am yours. Your lover, your friend, even your wench. Whatever you need from me, take it. Take me.”
Jackson’s hands slid over Will’s arms in a close hold. “I love you, Will. You are everything to me.” They stood in that embrace for long minutes.
At last, Jackson broke the silence. “Will. What happened between you and my brother?”
“If anyone is a bastard, Jackson, it’s Hugh,” Will said.
“I wasn’t aware that he preferred men. But then, I never knew him. My mother and I were kept a secret, of course, and after Baymore married, we were sent away. I was only four, but I still remember him coming to visit us.”
“Well, Hugh was the most beautiful lover.” Jackson tensed, but Will continued, “At first. Then, his needs and plans rose to the top, as cream on milk, but like cream left too long in the cup, they curdled.”
Jackson cleared his throat. “You were young?”
“Just eighteen and so innocent.” Will gave a small, tight laugh. “He changed all that, made me admit my inclinations.”
“He seduced you.”
“He flirted. I returned the flirtation, so flattered that a man of his beauty would find me attractive. We dallied in his garden under the moon. He touched my hand, raised it to his mouth, and kissed my palm. I’d never felt such fluttering in my belly. He took me in his bed that very night.”
“How did you meet?”
“On my father’s business. I rode with a courier pouch to deliver some missive about fields or grazing or something. I forget now. It was love at first sight. For me, at least.” Will shrugged.
“How long did it last?” Jackson shifted his hold as Will stepped back, to put some distance between them.
“I lived with him for a summer at Baymore as his lover and, I thought, as his friend. I suppose to Hugh that I was much like a new toy, young and pretty, a plaything for a spoiled child. He used me for his pleasure, and for the most part, for mine.”
“For the most part?” Jackson turned to him and searched Will’s eyes.
“Hugh takes pleasure in giving pain. At first, it was small. Love bites, slaps across the ass. Then, as time went on, he became rougher. More pain, less pleasure.”
“And you stayed?” Jackson growled. His tone stung Will as if he’d slapped him.
Will pulled away, went back to the bed, and crawled in. “I thought I loved him and that he loved me.” He laughed, short and hard. “Then, he tired of me and replaced me with another. Brought his new lover to our bed for me to share.” Will sat up against the headboard of the bed, running his fingers through his hair. “When I refused to share him with another, I was removed from Baymore, my things tossed out into the road and me along with them, like trash upon the midden pile.”
“Your brother says you took it badly.” Jackson sat on the bed and stroked Will’s long lean thigh.
“Wallace told you, did he? Badly…” Will sighed. “Well, if badly means I tried to kill myself twice, bemoaned my loss of Hugh’s touch and love for months on end, and was a pain to everyone around me, then badly it was.” He gave Jackson a lopsided smile and a shrug. “I was young. He was my first love and my first lover.” Will shook his head at the memory, embarrassed by how low he’d sunk. “Now, I hold myself lucky that Hugh let me go. I wonder, if I had stayed with him, what sort of man he might have shaped me into.”
“He must have a powerful personality.”
“And the beauty and skill as a lover to back it.” Will faced Jackson, resolved to stand firm. “I’m only going to ask once more, Jackson. Forget Baymore. Stay with me.” Will watched for his lover’s reaction, anything that showed Jackson would relent of this ill formed idea of returning to Baymore.
“I will return if I am recognized. I swear it.” Jackson held out his hands, in a plea.
“And do you still plan to abandon me if Baymore doesn’t?”
Jackson’s face flushed and he met Will’s gaze. “I want you to have the best, Will. That isn’t me.”
“Does what we’ve shared mean so little to you?” Will’s heart felt as if it had stopped beating, then started again with a mighty thud.
“I will never forget you, Will. Never. No one but you will ever hold my heart.” Jackson’s hand tightened on Will’s leg.
Will wouldn’t beg. He’d hold to that and he would not be treated like a pretty bauble for Jackson to play with when he felt like it. “Keep your pride, Jackson. If you send word you’re not returning to me, you are gone from my life.” To lose Jackson once
was torture, but for him to come and go at his whim, never to stay —that would be a hell Will did not intend to burn in.
“I understand,” Jackson said.
The urge to beg swelled in Will, but he squelched it. He’d lost his self-respect with Hugh and he’d been shamed in a cold, dark field. Losing Jackson would be the worst blow of all. He set his resolve, embraced his strength, and clutched his tattered pride to him.
“Jackson, don’t underestimate Hugh. He’s a dangerous man.” Will feared for his lover, but couldn’t put name to the fear.
“I haven’t heard much about him or His Grace of late. It seems we don’t occupy the same circle of influence.” Jackson gave a quick grin, then his brows drew down. “I leave at dawn.”
“I won’t be there.” Will jerked his chin up and stared into those beautiful dark eyes.
Jackson slipped off the bed, straightened his clothing, and stepped to the door.
“Jackson, if you abandon me you’ll regret it,” Will whispered. “Every night, you’ll see me in your dreams. When you touch another, you’ll desire me. You’ll close your eyes and imagine me beneath you. Kisses will taste like ashes in your mouth and no one will ease your longing.”
Part curse, part truth, it damned them both.
“I know.” Jackson looked over his shoulder and gave Will a last pained look. “Farewell, my lord.”
He opened the door, slipped out, and pulled it shut behind him.
Will stared at the place Jackson had just occupied, trying to burn the man’s face, his taste, the touch of his gentle hands into his memory.
Will wished for death. Time slowed.
He still lived, his heart beat on, and breath filled his lungs.
So. It was to be God’s wrath after all.
He would survive.
Over ten years ago, he’d thought he loved Hugh. Now, he saw it as youthful infatuation, full of regrets and recriminations. With Jackson, Will had discovered a depth of love he’d only dreamed about. He would never regret Jackson, no matter how brief the time they’d had together.
Will held no hopes that Jackson would return to him as the Lord Marquess of Baymore.
If Will knew anything at all, it was that Hugh would not like having an elder brother.
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Meet the author:
Lynn Lorenz is an award-winning and best-selling author of over 30 gay romances. She lives in Texas, where she’s a fan of all things Texan, like Longhorns, big hair, and cowboys in tight jeans. She’s never met a comma she didn’t like, and enjoys editing and brainstorming with other writers. Lynn spends most of her time writing about hot sex with even hotter heroes, plot twists, werewolves, and medieval swashbucklers. She’s currently at work on her latest book, making herself giggle and blush, and avoiding all the housework.
Where to find the author:
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1496392.Lynn_Lorenz
Publisher: Hartwood Publishing
Cover Artist: Georgia Woods
19-Nov: Molly Lolly
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